Red Convertible

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December 2nd 2011

The Nightmare of the “American Dream”

Word Count: 1013

The “American Dream”, an idea that success, freedom and equality exists according to each man's capabilities regardless of social status and ethnicity, is one that appeals to every American from all walks of life. After the Great Depression, the importance of realizing success, freedom and equality became a priority in the lives of many, including the Native Americans. The belief in the “American Dream” was deeply embedded in their hearts in a quest to dispel stereotypes about their community such as being poverty- stricken and primitive warriors who belonged in the jungles as they began to assimilate into the urban culture of a white dominated society. However, as one examines the American society today, such stereotypes still exists and may have been influential in the opportunities presented to the Native American communities or the lack thereof. In the story “The Red Convertible”, Louise Erdrich employs images associated with freedom as ironies in order to argue that the “American Dream” is a farce as the stereotypes attached to individual communities, in this case, the Native American communities will never be broken and the believe in such dreams will eventually lead to life-altering and undesirable outcomes.

Erdrich consistently uses the image of the convertible that the brothers bought which would usually represent freedom and status connected with the ownership of an automobile in an ironical manner to show that the brothers will never be free and revered in society as a result of their ethnicity. Its colour, “of course it was red” (1-2), is a reminder of how Native American communities have lived with the stigma of being call Red Indians for centuries thus suggesting they will never be free of such derogatory labels. The brothers bought the car “reposed, calm and gleaming” (34) just...
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